Shannon Terrell Moore said his 22-month-old son had ridden on the motorcycle before.
The father said that his then-wife knew the boy sometimes rode on the motorcycle with him. There had never been a problem until that day in the Taylorsville parking lot when the motorcycle’s front wheel locked up, throwing Moore and R.J. to the pavement.
The child died.
“Your honor, it was an accident,” Moore said on Friday at his sentencing hearing. “If I could take it back, I wish it was me.”
Third District Court Judge Deno Himonas on Friday sentenced Moore to one year in jail and three years of probation. It could have been worse for Moore.
A jury in November convicted him of child abuse homicide, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The jury also convicted Moore of misdemeanor counts of improperly riding a motorcycle and failing to provide protective gear on a minor.
On Aug. 5, 2012, Moore put R.J. between the handle bars of his motorcycle, then rode it around the parking lot of the Bridgeside Way apartments in Taylorsville. A Unified Police detective testified at trial that the motorcycle was traveling at least 41 mph when the crash occurred.
Moore’s attorney, Danny Frazier, asked the judge to impose no incarceration, noting that Moore is a grieving father.
“I don’t see how any benefit can be derived from additional jail time in this matter,” Frazier said.
Frazier rejected a prosecution and law enforcement contention that Moore had blamed R.J. for the crash.
But R.J.’s mother, Sequoia Moore, wanted her ex-husband to serve the 15 years in prison. She said the defendant’s “carelessness” and “immaturity” caused the crash, although he had described the boy causing the crash.
“He said R.J.’s leg slipped and when he reached for the leg, R.J. grabbed the throttle, and that’s what caused the accident,” said Sequoia Moore, who divorced the defendant after her son died.
Before he issued the sentence, Himonas said he disagreed with the defense that there was no benefit to jail.
“There is still the death of a child due to someone’s behavior, Himonas said, “and there’s a deterrent value here.”